Out with the old…in with the new! If getting a good night’s rest is on your list of resolutions this year, you’re in luck!
Courtney Strimel, a writer and blogger who specializes in sleep, relaxation and personal well being, offers tips to help you wake up each day feeling refreshed and renewed. She is a regular contributor to the Night Therapy Sleep Center blog.
Clear the clutter
Do away with extra nonessential bedroom items, said Strimel. “One of the worst things you can do is make the entire bedroom your closet. Add shelving in the closet, buy some under-bed storage boxes, or get creative with storage ideas throughout the house—but give everything a place and keep it there!” The reason? A cluttered bedroom can interfere with the quality of your sleep, making it harder for your brain to shut down. After all, it’s hard to fall asleep with a stack of books on the dresser or a pile of laundry wilting away in the corner.
Remove all light sources
When it’s time for “lights out,” relaxing in a completely dark room can help you ease into a good night’s rest. That’s because exposure to light can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that aids sleep. Strimel recommends darkening windows, using blackout curtains or “layers” of blinds, sheers and drapes that can prevent extra light from infiltrating the room. Banish televisions, computers, cell phones and other electronics from the bedroom; light from these devices also interferes with your body’s ability to fall asleep, resulting in more frequent waking.
Invest in the right mattress and pillows
One of the biggest causes of interrupted sleep is discomfort from your bed and/or pillow. An uncomfortable mattress can prevent your body from experiencing deep, restorative sleep—and over time, it can contribute to chronic back, shoulder or neck pain. Similarly, a pillow that does not provide proper support for your head and neck can also affect proper alignment. Plus, “besides the fact that bedding—mattresses, toppers, pillows—wear out and become less supportive, they also become too allergen-riddled to save,” said Strimel. Flipping a mattress can offer a temporary solution; however, if your mattress is more than seven years old, it’s time to replace it. The approximate shelf life of pillows is one year.
Create a relaxing color scheme
Several studies show that wall colors or even the color of bedding can influence the quality of your sleep. Soft, relaxing shades can help to calm your nervous system and promote rest. “Choose a linen color—a sage green, or a sea blue,” said Strimel. “While red and charcoal colors look striking in home decor ads, these dense colors are not conducive to a good night’s sleep.”
Studies show wall colors or even the color of bedding can influence the quality of your sleep.
Do away with dust bunnies
Dust and dust mites (tiny microscopic creatures that live inside bedding) can aggravate allergies and even cause asthma attacks. The easiest solution? Routine cleaning. “Make sure your sheets are washed at least every week. Dust your furniture and sweep or vacuum,” said Strimel. “For even better allergen control, vacuum the mattress periodically, as well.” After vacuuming, sprinkle a box of baking soda over the mattress and work it in with a clean broom. Place a clean mattress cover over the baking soda until it’s time to wash again.
For additional sleep tips, Strimel recommends visiting Spa Sensation’s Simple Luxuries blog.